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War Protests Continue in Triangle; Protesters Ready To Be More Aggressive

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RALEIGH, N.C. — War protesters held several events in the Triangle over the weekend as the U.S. moved closer to a possible war with Iraq.

A large group rallied near Brightleaf Square in Durham on Saturday. In a symbolic gesture, the protesters lined up plastic bags signifying body bags - stressing their point that toppling Sadaam Hussein isn't worth American casualties.

Meanwhile, a children's peace march was held in Raleigh on Saturday. From Hargett Street to Nash Square, kids and their parents carried signs reading "No War."

Organizers of the event said violence will only teach more violence. They also said national leaders who call for war are not good role models for kids.

War protests have been going on for weeks all across the country. So far, they've been fairly tame. But some organizations promise an aggressive strategy if President Bush declares war.

"If Bush chooses to go forward with the war, we activists realize that we're going to have to be more disruptive," said local activist Andrew Pearson. "The same old tactics of getting our message across isn't going to work."

Pearson was talking about new tactics like lying down on bridges and streets and protesting inside shopping malls for as long as he and others can get away with it.

"We need to recognize that if our government is going to take so much money away from us, our communities," he said, "we're going to start to take protests into venues which are part of that economic fabric of society."

If protesters step up their disobedience, that might include disrupting you when you try to buy gas. Some people say what the protesters are doing now is already bad enough.

"If they want to surround a gas station, that's fine," said local resident Rebecca Suits. "I'm going to go and get gas, and I'm going to go where I need to go.

"I completely support the war, and I'm really tired of seeing all the protesters."

Activists in some cities say they are planning sit-ins at defense recruiting offices and military bases.

Pearson said he fully supports U.S. soldiers. But he added that the best place for them is here at home, not Iraq.

In Fayetteville on Saturday, the focus was on supporting the troops.

The wife of a soldier organized a rally that took place Saturday in Rowan Street Park, where about 1,800 people turned out to show their support for the troops. It had been expected to be a small event, but word spread quickly, and people came in from all around eastern North Carolina.

A small group of war protesters showed up at the rally, but didn't stay for long.

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